There’s a story, maybe it’s a fable, maybe it’s even in the Bible (in which case I suppose it’s a parable), about a man who goes around, walking in the usual way, looking at this, looking at that, just generally looking in all directions at whatever grabs his attention.
And one day he happens to look down and he sees money lying on the ground. It has to be a shiny coin of some value for the story to work, so let’s say it’s a silver dollar. He picks it up and changes his life. From then on whenever he walks he only looks at the ground, hoping to find more money.
And he goes around like that for years, always looking at the ground when he walks, but he never finds any more silver dollars. And then one day he’s walking along and he sees something shining in the gutter and he thinks, “OK, at last, more money!” But it isn’t a silver coin, it’s a fragment of broken mirror and when he looks down at it he sees a reflection of the sky up above his head, and then he looks up at the sky itself and he sees it looks wonderful, and he realizes what he’s been missing all these years.
Well, I certainly look around at thing as I walk. I like to think I look in all directions (though not all simultaneously, of course), and sometimes I do look notice things on the ground. I think I have found the odd bit of money here and there, but not much, and I’m sure I must have seen a few mirror fragments. But it hasn’t changed my life.
And lately, I’ve been noticing things painted on the pavements and sidewalks where I’m walking. Some of it’s street art, and some of it’s done by guys who work for the utility companies, and the latter is usually much more inscrutable and enigmatic.
Of course on Hollywood Boulevard you have to look down at the ground if you want to see the Walk of Fame and the stars set in the concrete, that celebrate showbiz people. But a couple of miles east of the Walk of Fame, I found this star that celebrates self-loathing.
It’s a Hollywood thing, I’m sure, but by no means only a Hollywood thing.